30 in 45 – Tales from Middle-Earth Edition; wherein we meet TROLL

We’re going to try to play this in rapid succession each night and build some quality decks. We’ve purchased the first four expansions, and if we get good enough and enjoy it, maybe we’ll continue buying the mini expansions. It has a lot of potential, so I hope it works out.

Lord of the Rings The Card Game
Scenario: The Old Forest Road
A: Lore and Tatics -> Win
J: Spirit and Leadership -> Win

Report: This is a co-operative deck building game. Think Magic: The Gathering goes on a field trip to Middle Earth and everyone gets scared by Sauron and bands together instead of playing against each other. You get a few heroes (like Aragorn, Bilbo, Boromir, etc.) from four different spheres of influence (we each played two spheres as noted in the results). I played with Legolas (tactics), Denethor (yes, the coward is a hero in this game), and a made-up elf named Beravor (lore). Jessica played Aragorn (leadership), Prince Imrahil (leadership), and Eowyn (spirit).

Since we hadn’t played this in a LONG time, we decided to do the easiest quest to reacquaint ourselves. It was pretty non-eventful and easy, but my favorite part of my group was when I put a Burning Brand attachment on Denethor. It effectually made him untouchable when defending such that he was able to tame the Beastmaster (a real thing). Legolas picked off many, many enemies from afar. Jessica’s Eowyn was Caught in a Web for nearly the whole game but still managed to navigate us through the locations with ease.

Our game set up after a particularly devastating loss.
Custom insert
Our custom built box insert to organize our questing
Storage for tokens made out of legos
It’s made to look like the All Seeing Eye

The ensuing games
9/27 The Old Forest Road: Win
9/28 Down the River Anduin: Loss
10/1 Down the River Anduin: Loss
10/2 Down the River Anduin: Loss, but a win after consulting the rules
10/5 Escape from the Dead Marshes: Win
10/5 Hills of Emyn Muil: Loss
10/8 Hills of Emyn Muil: Win

The games started to flow together in our minds after the first one, so here is a summary of what has happened to us thus far. For all the remaining games, Jessica played her Spirit/Leadership deck with some minor changes along the way, and I played the Lore/Tactics deck. I love me some eagles.

Anyway, we played The Old Forest Road to get a feel for some deck adjustments and new heroes and won handily again. After all, it’s just an Old Forest Road after all. How badly can things go just walking down a road?

Down the River Anduin was another story altogether. The plot of the scenario is such that it continues where the previous scenario (Old Forest Road) left off. We were carrying a message to Lothlorien, and we came to the banks of the river Anduin. The plan was simple: Get in some boats, float to Lothlorien and deliver the message. Yeah, it’s funny how naive Middle-Earth people can be. Before we even got to the banks of the river, a TROLL ambushed us. Please notice I capitalized TROLL because there is nothing lower-case about him. No problems right? We’d just throw everyone at him and be on our way. That would work just fine except for when the TROLL invited his friend Chieftain Ufthak (of the Morgul Orcs) and a Marsh Adder. The three hardest enemy cards in the deck. Yay. We died a quick death.

Isn’t he cute?

Ok, Down the River Anduin, take two. Heading towards the bank, and a wild TROLL appears! Not a surprise because that is how the scenario always starts.  What is a surprise is that he brought his twin BROTHER.  TROLL and BROTHER TROLL beat upon us but Gimli and company were able to fight them off and get into the boats.  Unfortunately, the crew was so beaten down that they could not withstand the harrying of the enemies on the riverbanks.  We were so pitiful.

TAKE THREE!  You know how it goes by now: River bank, TROLL and then, well, that’s it.  No one else helped the troll this time, and we were able to get onto the river much faster.  Without many enemies on the banks, we moved quickly down the river. When we reached our destination, we found a welcoming party of a less-than-friendly demeanor.  We found their numbers to be too great and did not successfully break through. Woe was us. Much despair was found in House Jeppson.

But alas, after putting away the game, I (Adam) was not satisfied with the rules interpretation that led to so many enemies at our destination. I won’t bore you with the details of play-order and how certain abilities prevented other abilities, but the end result was that we should have prevented the last two enemies from appearing. They also happened to be the hardest enemies.  We would have been able to handle the others easily, so we counted it a win. I know, I know, the cowards way out. Better a coward than facing TROLL again.

Next Scenario! The Hills of Emyn Muil.  We actually skipped the next few scenarios in the plot order because we wanted to play some we hadn’t played before. Basically, we spent a few scenarios hunting Gollum, and it led us to the Hills of Emyn Muil. This scenario required us to explore a LOT of locations. The challenge is that you can’t leave many of your characters available to handle enemies.  Our first try at this became far too challenging. My Tactics-heavy deck didn’t have enough power to explore locations, and Gollum got away.

Our next playthrough found me revamping my deck to feature a lot more Lore cards with the power to make exploration easier.  Jessica also did the same with her Spirit deck, and we knocked this one down quickly.  Her Rohan riders were all over the country side, and I found a ton of Secret Paths that let us move more quickly.  Gollum didn’t stand a chance against our speed.  We showed him “the meaning of haste”.  (Sadly, Shadowfax is not yet a card we can play. <crossing fingers>)

Ok, last scenario, Escape from the Dead Marshes! We sort of caught Gollum in the Dead Marshes but were now tasked with finding our way out. Not an easy (or pleasant) task. You might remember the Dead Marshes from the The Two Towers with all the dead soldier bodies. Anyway, we had to move quickly, and we did. It was pretty anti-climactic because we just threw everything we had at exploration and got really, really lucky. Two turns was all it took us.  About 10 minutes, and we had done it. I can see how this scenario could be difficult, but it wasn’t for us this time.

Next time, we will attempt to bring Gollum back to Mirkwood for interrogation. Will we succeed? Will we meet TROLL again? Tune in next time to Tales from Middle-Earth!

Days Left: 13 Games Played: 22

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